MLB: WBC roundup: Japan rolls into quarterfinals; Netherlands suffers first loss

Roki Sasaki struck out eight and Japan overpowered the Czech Republic for a 10-2 victory on Saturday in the World Baseball Classic in Tokyo.

Sasaki was dominant, clocking 21 of his 66 total pitches at or above 100 mph according to the radar gun shown on the TV broadcast.

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Japan moved to 3-0 in Pool B and is assured a spot in the quarterfinals.

Pitching on the 12th anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that claimed the life of his father and grandparents, Sasaki, 21, allowed two hits and one run.

Marek Chlup doubled and scored in the first inning on a fielding error to give the Czech Republic (1-1) the 1-0 lead.

Japan’s offense, kept off-balance by Ondrej Satoria’s diet of off-speed pitches and a fastball that never hit 80 mph, finally broke through with three runs in the third inning.

Shohei Ohtani’s one-out RBI double helped charge a four-run fourth. Ohtani also stole third base.

Satoria had four strikeouts and left with a memorable souvenir. He fanned Ohtani, who spun himself to the ground and lost his helmet.

Japan can complete a perfect 4-0 run through pool play by beating Australia on Sunday.

Taiwan 9, Netherlands 5

Yu Chang launched a second-inning grand slam and Taiwan handed the Netherlands its first loss in Pool A action in Taichung City.

Chieh-Hsien Chen doubled, tripled and drove in a run and Li Lin went 3-for-5 with two RBIs for Taiwan (2-1), who never trailed after scoring five runs in the second inning.

Jurickson Profar singled and scored on a Didi Gregorius single to give the Netherlands (2-1) a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Ray-Patrick Didder hit a solo homer in the ninth inning.

–Field Level Media

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